In times when school shootings seem to be a weekly occurance and questions are posed about the state of society, Switchfoot offers a new album full of solutions which may answer the questions society is asking. New Way To Be Human, Switchfoot's sophomore release on Charlie Peacock's re:think label, points people in the direction of what the answer is. Growing by leaps and bounds, the lyrical and musical content of this album could not be much better. Switchfoot's debut album, Legend Of Chin, focused introspectively on the band members' struggles, particularly those of lead singer and chief songwriter, Jon Foreman. However, New Way To Be Human is a study in pop culture and the search for hope in this materialistic world. The songs focus on what the world offers as the latest fad and what should be fulfilling. Switchfoot challenges these social pressures, stating that God's love should be the thing that fills people's lives.
The music is similar to that on their debut with lots of guitar and funky, dancy rhythms on the fast songs and slow introspection in the quieter songs--but definitely raised up a notch. I found this project perfect to drive to; these three San Diego natives definitely know how to create music to go along with almost any activity. Switchfoot definitely create their own style of music that no close comparisons can really be spoken of.
Out of the 50 songs written for the album, only ten were selcted for it, and many of the best songs are the slower songs. Of particular note are "Let That Be Enough," a song that was written and recorded in the same day, and which speaks about Christ's love being the only thing to make us content:
Let me know that You hear me
Let me know Your touch
Let me know that You love me
And let that be enough
Another powerful song is "Only Hope," which Foreman describes as "His [God's] lullaby to me:"
Sing to me the song of the stars
Of Your galaxy dancing and laughing and laughing again
When it feels like my dreams are so far
Sing to me of the plans that You have for me over again
While this album could be considered a theme album--since the songs chronicle the journey from searching for the answer to finding it--the songs on New Way to Be Human can be listened to randomly without confusion about the meanings. Their debut had less overt references to spiritual matters, this new record seems to focus more on spirituality, which might turn some mainstream fans of the band away from the music. However, true fans of Switchfoot will not be disappointed with the band's latest offerings. Only one question remains: What's with that Beach Boys-esque sample at the end?
by Karen M. Vasey
The Lighthouse Electronic Magazine